September 16: In the end, a bellyful

I fail to understand the position taken by those who believe in a two-state solution but refuse to extend the building freeze.

In the end, a bellyful
Sir, – I can fully understand and sympathize with people who believe that all of the Land of Israel is ours, and we therefore have the right to build and settle in all parts of it. What I fail to understand is the position taken by those who believe in a two-state solution but refuse to extend the building freeze (“PM to present ideas for overcoming freeze hurdle today in Sharm,” September 14).
It is like two persons having a cake in front of them and deciding to divide it. I cannot understand one side saying “Yeah, let’s talk about how to divide the cake. But while we are talking, I’ll just nibble at it a little bit.”
You’d worry, too
Sir, – It is one thing to sit in an office sweating over a keyboard.
Try schlepping heavy suitcases for a living.
As you quite rightly reported (“One strike too many,” Editorial, September 14), NIS 5 billion is needed to cover damage payments to residents living in the vicinity of the airport, and dipping into the airport pension fund, which has NIS 2.5 billion in accrued assets, must seem very tempting to management.
The Treasury has already agreed in principle to safeguard the workers’ money, but as we all know, a verbal agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
The number of pension funds that have been raided by companies are too numerous to number. It’s not hard to see why workers get worried when, after working all their lives, they feel threatened by “irrational fears” that their retirement money might disappear.
Common hopes
Sir, – Since Gershon Baskin’s proper plea “to end the blood feud, recognize each others’ rights to this land and make real peace” (“Two rights don’t make a wrong,” Encountering Peace, September 14) surely appeared in various Palestinian media as well, I seek another grandmotherly letter writer from the Palestinian side to be my pen pal.
Doubtless, we’d have many hopes in common for the New Year and beyond.
New Fidelity
Sir, – Thank you for the prominence you accorded “Castro to Ahmadinejad: Stop denying the Holocaust” (September 12).
What wonderful and inspiring post-Rosh Hashana news. If even Fidel Castro can become our friend, we can surely repent, too.
Let President Simon Peres invite him here as our guest of honor and confer an order on him!
Sir, – At the time of the Spanish Inquisition, anyone with the family name “Castro,” especially in Spain, was Jewish. It could be that our dear friend Fidel looked up his family roots, hence his revolutionary thoughts on Israel and the Jewish people.
Myths of DST
Sir, – Regarding “Clock ‘falls back’ one hour as Daylight Saving Time ends” (September 12), once again, as is usual at this time of the year, the red herring vendors trying to drive a wedge between different sectors of the Israeli public are at it with their spurious argument about DST.
Multiply the amount spent on electricity by industry for one hour, and then say that because it gets dark one hour earlier, this money is wasted because we are not using light from the sun.
However, does any public place rely on the sun’s rays, and only on those rays, to conduct its business? It may make good headlines but it is completely untrue.
Sir, – With respect to the controversy on extending daylight saving time, Scientific American, a very respected journal, recently published a short note under the headline: “Daylight Savings Time: The extra hour of sunshine comes at a steep price” (September 2010, Page 51).
It cites recent studies showing that rather than saving electricity, observing daylight savings increases the use of electricity because of the greater use of fans and air conditioners during the long summer days. It also reports that rather than saving lives, DST disrupts normal body time cycles and thus causes more accidents because it leads to sleep deprivation. For the same reason, it increases depression and consequently suicides among men, and is apparently responsible for an increase of 5- 10 percent in the incidence of heart attacks the first week after the clocks move forward.
The magazine concludes: “Quite a price to pay... (for) a few extra hours of sunshine.”
More on supplement
Sir, – Devoting a Rosh Hashana supplement to “The world’s 50 richest Jews” (September 8) is a distressing reflection of a warped value system. Even taking into account that many of the people cited are philanthropic and have made significant contributions to society, or that their rise to the top has not been easy, the criteria for making the list is the accrual of great wealth.
Highlighting 50 outstanding Jewish people for their achievements and contributions to the world and to the Jewish people and society would seem far more appropriate at this time of heshbon nefesh (personal accounting).
Sir, –Your recent supplement featuring the world’s 50 richest Jews was fascinating and timely.
It was encouraging and uplifting to know that some of us are doing relatively well.
Regrettably, I was not among them.
If you do a follow-up supplement on the 50 poorest Jews in the world, please include me among them. I am sure you will find a good number of potential candidates here in Israel.
A spade’s a spade
Sir, – I applaud Liat Collins for her scathing criticism of the boycotters of the new Ariel theater in her September 5 My Word column (“Culture clash”), and am especially appreciative of her objection to the term “antipeace” being used to describe “those who query the need to evict thousands from their homes.”
It is refreshing to come across a columnist who calls a spade a spade, since those who favor the dismantling of settlements generally play down the brutal truth that such dismantling brings in its wake immense suffering, with the uprooting of entire communities and the eviction of settlers from their dearly loved homes.
The reason for this drastic measure is supposed to be the advancement of the peace process, but facts on the ground have disproved this theory, since the granting of concessions in the past, far from bringing peace closer, has led to greater violence on the part of the Arabs – and an increased appetite for more concessions. Indeed, we have made numerous sacrifices “in return for promises which have repeatedly literally blown up in our faces,” as the column states.
Take a whiff
Sir, – John Chacksfield (“Passive smoking Israel’s time bomb,” Opinion, August 25) seems to think Britons are taking pride in their environment. Perhaps he has no sense of smell – the streets are littered with cigarette butts and the doorways of office blocks and shops in the West End and City of London look and smell like old ashtrays.
I was a smoker and now I am a non-smoker. I enjoyed every cigarette but would not wish to be relegated to the streets and doorways for a quick puff.